Duquesne Law Review


The trustees of private employee pension and benefit plans are subject to the fiduciary standards enacted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. One such standard-the arbitrary and capricious standard-originated in cases decided under the Taft-Hartley Act. The author examines the origins of the arbitrary and capricious standard, concluding that although the federal courts lacked jurisdiction under the Taft-Hartley Act to formulate and apply the standard, it nevertheless has been universally adopted by the courts in cases decided under ERISA. The author examines the judicial tests developed to determine fiduciary status, and surveys the application of the arbitrary and capricious standard, identifying five distinct factors considered by the courts when reviewing challenged fiduciary conduct.

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